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Despite a proliferation of studies of the micro-level dynamics of protests and petitions against land takings in China, we know very little about how meso-level factors, such as the local economy, influence petitions to Beijing and provincial governments. Drawing upon the economic approach to civil war, this article examines the roles played by grievances and greed in determining the scale of mobilization at the county level in Zhejiang province. Through archival evidence and interviews in Ningbo and Lishui, as well as an original dataset of petitions, this article suggests that both grievances and greed influence petitioning. Mobilization is especially high in Ningbo, where valuable real estate markets have prompted landless farmers to compete with local governments over control of the rents from land. The article proposes the concept of resource value activation as a cognitive mechanism that has contributed to this process of mobilization.